In many ways, The Dark Knight is a really stupid movie.
Most superhero movies are. The Dark Knight bald-facedly rips off the Saw movies. Most of the situations are impossibly contrived. Batman never seems to get shot no matter how many people are there with machine guns. His sense of timing borders on the prophetic, and is somehow not even as perfect as the Joker’s. And his voice is beyond ridiculous.
But I still watch it over and over again (I just watched it for the 10th time yesterday). It’s because I can’t get enough of the character interaction. It’s like watching a master’s course in making nifty love triangles or justice triangles or good and evil triangles (see illustration). Of course, I feel like a complete nerd for analyzing an action movie in this way, but it isn’t my fault; I am an English Major. As such, I am conditioned to not enjoy anything on a surface level anymore. I have to look for motifs, themes, and the occasional sexual undertone. (The one between Joker and Harvey Dent was a bit disturbing.)
Something like that moves an entertaining movie up to a really good movie. It messes all over the stock characters that normally fill superhero stories and makes them into something moving and impassioned and flawed. It gives me hope that not everyone is still relying on the “good guy,” “bad guy,” “bad guy that looks like good guy,” “femme fatale,” “likable animal sidekick” standards. It reminds me that there are still people that believe that a movie can be about good writing and not just explosions, naughty bits, and car chases.
The Batmobile was pretty cool, though.